Gifts and Gratitude
A Winning Spirit
Misha Sher ’00 fondly remembers his junior year as a Bishop soccer player. It was 1998 and the team won the NCAA Division III national championship. He soaked it all in. The cheers of his teammates. The roar of the home crowd.
“It wasn’t just that we won,” he says. “It’s how we won.”
What made it special were the many alumni from the soccer program in the stands. They all made an enormous contribution to the strength and tradition of the program, he says. “You felt like you won it for everyone who came before us, not just the team.”
That winning spirit has propelled Sher throughout his career as a professional soccer player, financial executive, and now as head of sport and entertainment at London-based MediaCom, a global leader in media and advertising. He represents commercial interests of some of the world’s most recognized athletes, including soccer icon Pelé, while also advising multimillion-dollar companies such as Coca-Cola, American Airlines, and Shell on how best to navigate the $60 billion sponsorship industry.
Despite the 3,000-plus miles separating Sher from his alma mater, he stays connected with OWU. He corresponds regularly with his old coach Jay Martin—the winningest coach in college men’s soccer history—keeps an eye on the program, and contributes philanthropically to Team OWU.
“As time goes by you realize how special those years were, so to be able to contribute to the success of the program is important to me,” he says. “Jay made everyone feel a part of it. That experience of being a student-athlete served us well.”
Sher’s life wasn’t always in the limelight. In 1991, when the U.S.S.R. was breaking up, Sher’s family immigrated to Minnesota from Kiev in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. After a short time at the University of Maine, he transferred to Ohio Wesleyan where he majored in economics and minored in journalism.
“I came to the realization that what I really wanted was to be a part of a smaller, more intimate college environment with a strong academic reputation and an elite soccer program,” he says. “I met with Jay, and the rest is history.”